El Paso Water Problems
Today we’re looking at El Paso water problems and what you can do to fix them.
With up to 43 chemical compounds, El Paso’s water quality ranks in the high range for contaminants.
Some of the most notable are:
Let’s get a better idea of what each of these chemicals can do in a water supply.
Arsenic in El Paso Water
Arsenic may seem like something from old Cary Grant films.
However, it’s a very common cancer-causing chemical in water supplies across the United States.
El Paso’s concentrations of Arsenic are extremely high at 4.76 ppb (parts per billion).
This far exceeds the health guidelines of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer advocacy nonprofit.
The legal limit is 10 ppb. EWG sets the limit at 0.004.
Chloroform in El Paso Water
Chloroform is another of those chemicals from old movies.
It was once a common anesthetic used in surgeries.
It’s also commonly used to euthanize butterflies and other insects for study and collection.
Why is chloroform bad for drinking water?
Like many chemicals in drinking water, chloroform can cause cancer in humans.
This is especially true with repeated exposure.
If its presence isn’t addressed, this is more likely to happen.
Radium in El Paso Water
There are two types of radium present in El Paso’s water: Radium-226 and Radium-228.
Both can lead to cancer.
Here are the concentrations:
- El Paso water: 0.27 pCi/L
- EWG guideline: 0.05 pCi/L
- Legal limit: 5 pCi/L
Looking at those numbers we can see that El Paso has at least 5 times the healthy limit of radium.
Uranium in El Paso Water
Uranium is a similar story to Radium in El Paso.
It can also cause cancer over time.
Here are the concentrations:
- El Paso water: 2.67 pCi/L
- EWG guideline: 0.43 pCi/L
- Legal limit: 20 pCi/L
The Environmental Working Group makes it clear that legal limits do not mean it’s safe.
Lead in El Paso Water
Lead is one of the biggest El Paso water problems.
Let’s start with risky concentration levels and what they can do:
Lead concentrations of 3.9 ppb to 15 ppb “put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels.” (ewg.org)
Lead poisoning symptoms in children under 6 include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Developmental Delay
- Learning Difficulties
- Weight loss
- Hearing loss
El Paso water has lead concentrations up to 84 parts per billion.
That makes the water extremely dangerous from a lead standpoint.
How to Clean Up El Paso’s Water:
All of this information can be surprising, scary, and infuriating.
The good news is that you can take steps to clean up El Paso’s water.
There are things you can do at a household level and actions to take as a community.
To Clean Up El Paso Water at Home:
Using activated carbon filters takes care of a lot of the 35 contaminants in your water.
- Brita and PUR pitchers can filter out 15 of 34 contaminants or 44.1%.
- Better systems like Berkey filters can remove 27 out of 35 contaminants, or 77.1%.
- Berkey filters also remove up to 99% of lead in you water.
- To remove the highest number of contaminants, consider a whole house system.
- They can clear out 30 of 35 pollutants.
To see our recommendations, check out our Filters page.
Clean Up El Paso Water at the City Level:
This will take more effort than cleaning up your home water supply.
It starts with speaking to your elected officials about the condition of your water.
You can find contact information for civic leaders here: https://www.elpasotexas.gov/
If you don’t see results, keep talking to them. The more they hear from you, the better they understand the urgency of the situation.
Conclusion: El Paso Has Water Problems
But you can take action to solve them.
Whether it’s in your house with better water filters or at the city level speaking to leadership, you can do this.
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